While Teofimo Lopez was lamenting if he ''still had it'' in the wake of his debatable decision over the crafty Sandor Martin at Madison Square Garden, Jared 'the Real Big Baby' Anderson made a definitive statement earlier in the night.
That he is the best young American heavyweight prospect since Riddick Bowe.
While Lopez-Martin was the featured bout on ESPN, it was Anderson who stole the show.
The 23 year old native of Toledo, Ohio, torched veteran trial horse Jerry Forrest in two rounds.
Anderson actually got clipped early on this bout, and at times was defensively irresponsible in the first round. But by the end of the opening stanza he began to batter Forrest in the corner with both hands. To a point that the ringside physician examined him before the second. But it was just a momentary respite as Anderson proceeded to club away at Forrest with a heavy barrage of punches that was punctuated by an overhand right that ended things.
Mikey Williams for Top Rank
“Like my corner said, once I get hit it’s a whole different ballgame,"explained Anderson. "I switch up everything. My mindset. How I fight. Everything. I try to come in cool and calm. I see everybody kind of was expecting him to go out early. I didn’t want that. I did want to get all the way warmed up. But once he did hit me, as ya’ll see, something flipped, and all I saw was red. The 114 punches came and we picked it up.
No, beating Forrest doesn't necessarily make Anderson a contender. But keep this in mind, while Forrest couldn't make it out of the second on this night, in 33 previous bouts, he had been stopped just once. In recent years he had lost a 10 round split decision against the previously undefeated Jermaine Franklin (who just gave Dillian Whyte all he could handle), went the 10 round distance in losing to Carlos Takam, had 10 round draws with Zhang Zhilei and Michael Hunter, and in his previous bout lost a 10 round decision to former title challenger, Kubrat Pulev.
Sometimes it's not just if you win, but how you do so. And Anderson accomplished this in just his 13th professional outing.
Mikey Williams for Top Rank
Unlike many other American heavyweights of the past generation, Anderson is a boxer first and foremost. He'll tell you that he really didn't have much interest in other sports. While many others get into this game as a last resort, boxing was always the first -- and only -- priority for him.
While not the biggest heavyweight by modern standards, he's certainly not undersized either at 6'4 and in the neighborhood of 240 pounds. What he may lack in any size compared to his colleagues, he more than makes up for with legitimate skills. It's rare to see a heavyweight who can switch-hit and has power in both hands. To top it off, he has some charisma.
On a night when a cadre of Top Rank's blue-chip talent was on display, it was Anderson who shined the brightest.
Still not sure who won the bout between Lopez and Martin. But while it was Lopez getting his hands raised via split decision (97-92, 96-93 and 94-95) it felt like a lost night for the former unified lightweight champion, who is now campaigning at 140.
Lopez could never truly get a bead on the movement of the southpaw Spaniard, who scored a flash knockdown from a quick right hook in the second. Martin was never significantly hurt in this bout.
“It’s so hard to fight somebody like this when they’re running the whole time. Every time this guy committed, I countered and got him every time. He just ran the whole time," said Lopez. "It’s OK, though. We got a lot to work on. But first off, I want to thank God for this. No matter what it was. I apologize to everybody tonight. This is not how we perform. But, listen, our dancer partner was running the whole time."
Mikey Williams for Top Rank
Regardless of this decision (and whether you agreed with it or not), it left you wondering if Lopez is truly a top 10 junior welterweight. Perhaps it was just a bad style for him, but it has to be pointed out that they preferred Martin over the likes of the more conventional Arnold Barboza.
Lopez said afterwards, “We would love to fight Josh Taylor. We would love to fight Regis Prograis. Or even a rematch with George Kambosos. My whole thing now is just staying focused and staying devoted.”
You wonder though, as he was caught inside the ring doubting his own performance, and current abilities, if this was all just bluster.
As for Martin, who took this fight on three weeks notice in place of Jose Pedraza, he showed that he's a tough out for anyone in the division.
“It was a surprise with the judges. I won this fight clearly. For one judge, I only won two rounds? Really? There were two knockdowns. The referee didn’t count one of the knockdowns. He missed all of his punches. That’s a masterclass of boxing. That’s a robbery. But that’s the sport of boxing," he lamented.
Meanwhile in Omaha, Nebraska at the CHI Health Center, Terence Crawford successfully defended his WBO welterweight title with a highlight reel KO of David Avanesyan.
No real surprise, here. But I was curious to see how the 35 year old Crawford would look after a year-long absence from the ring. To these eyes it didn't look like he lost a step. Crawford was sharp as ever, and took care of business as expected. There is nobody in the sport that has the vision and anticipation that he has inside that ring.
While he's not known as a puncher, Crawford is now on a 10-fight knockout streak.
Make no doubt about it, 'Bud' is still very much one of the very elite boxers in the sport.
Luis Alberto Lopez held off the late rally of Josh Warrington to take the IBF featherweight title in Leeds...Meanwhile Michael Conlan blew out Karim Guerfi in one. There are some reports that Top Rank would like to match Conlan with Lopez for that IBF strap..So how fast will the talented Keyshawn Davis be moved?....The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFL...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....